Mirto (myrtle) is a Mediterranean shrub found more particularly in Sardinia, its berries are used to prepare a local liqueur but they are also dried to be used as aromatic herb. They do look like juniper berries but have a less pungent and sweeter aroma, more like blackcurrant, and they are perfect with the rabbit.
For the wine choose a well structured, quite tannic and fresh red, with delicate aroma and no exaggerated colour or extract. I would normally use a Burgundy but any good quality Pinot noir will do the trick ; it’s also perfect to drink with the rabbit ! Above all keep away from merlot and any such like, if in doubt go to the nearest video rental and get a copy of Sideways…
1 rabbit, already gutted and cut in 8 pieces
Potato starch or corn flour
2 spoons duck fat
10 shallots peeled and cut in halves
Half a bottle of red wine
2 spoons thyme flowers
6 dried myrtle berries
Salt and pepper
Mix the starch with good amount of pepper and pass the rabbit pieces in this mixture until evenly covered.
Heat up the fat in a cast iron pot and fry the rabbit on all sides on high heat until golden, reserve in a dish. Lower the flame and throw out the excess fat and burned starch from the pot.
Put the shallots in the pot and keep on low heat until they turn translucid (few minutes). Put back the rabbit pieces in the pot, add the wine to the left-over starch, stir and pour over the rabbit, add in the thyme and mirto berries, give a good stir. Cook covered over very low heat for 20-30 minutes, turning the rabbit pieces and stirring occasionally, until the meat is well cooked and the sauce has thickened.
Serve with steamed potatoes and what’s left of the wine.
Photo credits: I took the shot but Piperita edited it, it’s rather amazing how modern technology can turn a rubbish snap into a half decent picture !